I’ll go into full disclosure mode here! As things currently stand I’m a former staunch adherent to the keto diet, but I’ve lapsed somewhat.
I’m still bi-keto, or keto-curious (I’m not sure of the correct woke phrase) and I’d like to get back to keto in Cambodia at some point. I’ve therefore decided to do a full Khmer keto analysis in order to get myself firmly back on the horse.
So why am I failing at Cambodian keto?
In fairness this mostly boils down squarely on me. I’ve decided to cook at home rather than eat outside. There’s one baller supermarket in Siem Reap called Angkor Market, or as we affectionally call it Kwangbok. Compared to China they sell everything a man might desire, so we’ve gone a little crazy on western fun foods. I guess I’ve been lazy.
How easy is keto in Cambodia?
If you’re cooking at home keto should be a walk in the park. Meat at supermarkets is incredibly cheap and includes good locally produced beef and chicken. A KG of Cambodian beef is around 4 bucks. Eggs unsurprisingly are also readily available and cheap. I’ve been seriously getting into pickling my own eggs.
How about Khmer cuisine?
Overall I like Cambodian food, or Khmer cuisine as it should more correctly be called. There’s influences from India, Thailand, China and more specifically Vietnam. One of my favourite dishes is lok lac, which consists of marinaded cubes of beef with an egg. You can find it everywhere. There’s also stuff like frogs, ants and even tarantulas that whilst sounding a bit weird beard are certainly keto friendly.
Khmer Street Food
Cambodian Street food is extremely good and has a very entrenched barbecue culture. It’s very easy to fill up on Khmer barbecue without a vegetable being harmed. Seafood is also plentiful and cheap too! Khmer hot sauce is another favourite, but you will need to be liberal with it as it largely contains sugar.
What about rice?
Rice is a thing in Cambodia, particularly for Khmer people, but you genuinely see it a lot less than in China for example. Remember for keto rice is the devil!
Keto drinks in Cambodia
Drinking is a hard one. If you’re at a restaurant the choices are Angkor, Cambodia, or worst still Ganzberg! There isn’t any kind of rice wine like in Laos, or China. Soft drinks are no better, so you better get used to water. On the home front vodka is cheap, as is soda water.
And that is how to survive on a keto diet in Cambodia. Not all that hard (in theory).